Bruce Bisset: Case of expedient scoundrels

By Bruce Bisset

3 comments
John Key and John Banks during their infamous "cup of tea" meeting. Photo / APN
John Key and John Banks during their infamous "cup of tea" meeting. Photo / APN

There's only one thing I'd like more than seeing the back of John Banks as he leaves Parliament today and that's for the Government to likewise resign, for it is now a matter of record that they came to power on the back of a liar and cheat.

The infamous "cup of tea" photo op which stitched the deal between John Key and Banks to create an artificial majority so the Nats could govern is proven an expedient scoundrel's arrangement.

Key at least should also resign for his complete lack of judgment in backing Banks (merely on his word) for so long and, even when the man was found guilty of filing a false electoral return, of persisting in trying to somehow exonerate him.

Perhaps Key should have tested Banks more closely: putting a Bible in his hand and asking for his oath would have done it.

For it's notable the ex-minister/ mayor/Act leader did not take the stand in his own defence; lying on oath was clearly a step too far.

Though it's a measure of the man he was willing to let his wife damn herself on his behalf. Wonder how that rates in the judgment-day stakes.

Frankly, I've never understood how Banks managed to succeed in the touchy-feely world of politics. In person he's a blank-eyed bundle of barely-suppressed negativity; how anyone could imagine he has charisma is beyond me - unless they mistake being sucked into a black hole with positive energy.

However, it's not the sheer hypocrisy of devious men hiding behind their "Christian" shields that bothers me.

It's the fact we as a country have stooped so low as to accept - indeed, to a large extent, rejoice at - having such a man forming the pillar of our Government.

Expediency. Seems the current take on this ancient political practice is to rub the public's noses in it - and fool them into liking you for it.

The other thing that bothers me is the blurring of the lines between judiciary and legislature.

The police, as an arm of the state, are now rightly being questioned as to why they chose not to prosecute Banks themselves.

That they did not seek a Crown law opinion is particularly unsettling.

And remember the police decided not to prosecute the GCSB for illegally spying on their fellow countrymen, on the grounds the agency did not intend to break the law - a rather handy excuse for any criminal action, I suggest.

On the other hand, they jumped in smartly - at the behest of the Prime Minister - with dawn raids and much disruption of media outlets when a cameraman inadvertently left a microphone on the table while Banks and Key chatted over that fateful cuppa; and though police again decided against prosecution, the journalist was indelibly smeared.

Key's post-trial reiteration of Banks as "honest" (when a judge had just declared that he was not) and his semantics about the fact Banks had not been convicted or sentenced yet so could not be said to be a corrupt politician propping up a government sidestep the fact Banks committed his crime before National was elected - and has delivered his at-times-crucial vote in favour of a raft of contentious measures since, including asset sales, charter schools, offshore oil exploration, and the GCSB and TICS spy bills.

If police had prosecuted two years previously, with the same result, a by-election would have been needed and the government may have fallen.

That makes it a very high stakes decision.

Anyone could be forgiven for connecting the dots to spell political interference.

That's the right of it.

Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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